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Judicial Council adopts appellate rules

The Virginia Judicial Council adopted today the proposed revision of the rules of appellate procedure essentially as recommended by a 27-member committee headed by Supreme Court Justice Donald W. Lemons.

The revisions to Part 5 of the Supreme Court and Part 5A of the Virginia Court of Appeals now go to the Supreme Court, which will have the final say on them, although some changes may require amendments to state law. The council’s advisory committee on the rules of court reviewed Lemons’ committee’s work.

The committee spent almost three years working on the revisions with a goal, in Lemons’ words, of proposing “modifications that promote, clarity, conciseness and uniformity in the rules” of the two appellate courts.

The only matters to get extended discussion today were the provisions that allow the record on appeal to be a written statement of facts rather than a transcript. Council members tinkered with the language but still seemed to doubt whether they had properly balanced the ability of indigent litigants to avoid the cost of a transcript with the need of appellate courts to have a record complete enough for a proper review of the case.

The report of Lemons’ committee and the rules it proposed are here, before they were reviewed by the Judicial Council’s advisory committee on rules, with slight modifications.

By Alan Cooper

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